Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Dog 2018
Those who know me will know I am from a half Taiwanese descent, although I relate more to Singapore as it is where I visit frequently and my grandmother & fathers family grew up! As it's a special year of the dog, I thought I would share some of the wonderful ways in which we celebrate and how you can include your pup!
1. The Lion Dance & Firecrackers
Traditionally, most Chinese people would light loud firecrackers and celebrate the Lion Dance (this varies depending on the Northern or Southern Chinese Versions)
The loud firecrackers and "scary" Lion is meant to chase away evil ghosts & spirits and bring in a prosperous New Year. The lion is an auspicious animal that symbolises courage, determination and resourcefulness. It aims to bring good fortune to those who watch (and if you get a chance to rub his lucky horn!) No puns intended.
You can visit China Town, Soho in London this year to see & join in the celebrations. They will be celebrating on the 18th of February.
2. The Hongbao
I am sure you've spotted your Chinese friends with their very lucky red envelopes! Of course, they tend to be full of money. Traditionally Hongbao is handed out by married couples to their parents, single adults and children during the Chinese New Year celebrations as tokens of good fortune and blessing. As far as money goes, try to avoid odd numbers and most especially anything with a 4 (sounding in Chinese like the character related to death). Good things come in pairs, so keep it round.
Tip: Try adding dog treats into your pups Hongbao, so they can join in!
3. Reunion Dinner
Way back when you would make an effort to visit your hometown and return for Reunion Dinner. I myself will be celebrating Reunion dinner with my family tonight! It's most definitely an excuse to get your family together for a Chinese. Let your pup join for this extra special dinner, by letting them have a little luxury or to eat with the family.
4. Cleaning & Not Cleaning
Now I have no idea where this suspect rumour came from, but probably my Grandma. Traditionally she told me, not to wash my hair, cut my hair (heaven forbid) you might lose connection with your Ancestors or wash away your luck! From New Years Eve, until after the second day of Chinese New Year. But you should clean and tidy your home (just like Spring Cleaning), empty your hallways and keep things neat. In with the new and out with the old, plus Feng Shui believes doorways should be clean to allow money to flow in.
Tip: Give your pup a little brush, a tidy clean including their toys & clothes too!
5. Decorations & Red
Red is a lucky colour in Chinese belief and you'll see red featured everywhere. A Chinese tradition is to pop on Red, clothes, jewellery, anything, for luck throughout the New Year, hang lanterns & light candles to brighten up the darkness. You can also purchase fake firecrackers (to avoid the mad noise) to hang up and place around the home too!
Tip: Make sure your pup is decked out in red, collars, bandanas & even jackets to bring them luck too!